Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made history on Sunday as his Manchester United side secured a 1-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley.
The caretaker manager became the first man to win all of his opening six games as United boss and ensured the Reds cut the gap to Manchester United top-four rivals.
The game’s vital moment came on the stroke of half-time as Marcus Rashford fired past Hugo Lloris to give United all three points. It was also a match that will be remembered for David De Gea’s heroics as the Spanish goalkeeper pulled off a number of improbable saves to deny the hosts.
The visitors made nine changes from the side that beat Reading in the FA Cup eight days ago, and two from United last Premier League game, a 2-0 win against Newcastle United.
Only Phil Jones and Ashley Young remained from the match against the Royals, while the latter replaced Antonio Valencia from the Newcastle game, along with Jesse Lingard, who deputised in place of Juan Mata.
It was a frenetic start to things at Wembley with both teams attacking from the off, but the Reds enjoyed the better of things in the opening 20 minutes.
Solskjaer’s dynamic front three drove repeatedly at the Spurs back four with their power and pace causing numerous problems for centre-backs Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld.
However the hosts managed to create the game’s first chance of real note, when Heung-min Son picked up the ball midway inside his own half and ran at the United defence. The South Korean’s well-timed pass found Harry Winks inside the Reds penalty area, but his shot was well saved by De Gea.
Soon after the Reds could have taken an early lead. On 11 minutes, Paul Pogba’s inch-perfect pass found Ander Herrera at the right corner of the box, who teed-up Young for a first-time cross. His ball found Lingard at the back post, but he thrashed at his shot and it flew high and wide.
United were well on top already and Rashford tested Hugo Lloris for the first time that afternoon when a quick counterattack released the striker inside the box. However, his shot was well held by the French stopper.
Rashford continued to cause havoc for the Spurs back four and Nemanja Matic soon fed him through on goal, yet the assistant referee’s flag denied any goalscoring opportunity.
The Tottenham goalkeeper was a busy man and in the 18th minute he was called into action again, this time doing splendidly to deny his fellow countryman Anthony Martial with his feet.
Tottenham thought they’d taken the lead on the half-hour mark, when Kane found the back of the net, but his goal was rightly ruled offside. The England striker got a toe to the ball after Dele Alli had bundled it across goal from Kieran Trippier’s cross, but he was ahead of the last defender.
United made the first-half dominance pay on the stroke of half-time as Rashford put the Reds ahead. It was Pogba, playing another delicious cross-field ball from the centre of the park, who released our no.10 and he unleashed a powerful low drive from a tight angle into the bottom left corner of the goal.
When the second period began it was De Gea who was the busier of the two keepers. Within the first few minutes he made a routine stop from a speculative Son effort, excellently denied Kane with his feet and pulled off a superb diving save to prevent Alli’s header.
However, soon it was Lloris’ turn to pull off a fantastic stop, which he did to deny Pogba’s header on 53 minutes. He was called into action a few moments later to again prevent Pogba scoring; this time the midfielder followed up his own deflected shot which dropped to him inside the box and he managed get a toe to the ball to force the Tottenham keeper into an acrobatic stop.
The second period was proving to be as end-to-end as the first. Just before the hour-mark Kane’s header from a corner nearly tied the game up and then Trippier’s cross came off an unknowing Lamela’s shoulder in the box and went just over the bar.
De Gea was having one of those afternoons for United and again demonstrated why he is the best keeper in the world. After a rapid Tottenham counter attack on 65 minutes Kane slipped the ball inside Luke Shaw to find Alli and as he broke into the area the Spanish stopper narrowed the angle and made another great save with his feet.
His feet were called into action again five minutes later as he somehow managed to prevent Alderweireld from a Spurs corner and he held the ball moments later from Kane’s curling free-kick.
De Gea continued with his incredible antics, firstly from Alli’s side-foot shot inside the box and then once producing another save with his feet to deny Kane.
The hosts continued to pile on the pressure, but United’s defence continued to stand up brilliantly, with special mentions going to the whole backline for reducing the chances count as we ticked towards injury-time. And when they did however, De Gea was ready to be called upon, as he was on 89 minutes to save from substitute Fernando Llorente. The Spanish striker created the last chance of the match, when he controlled the ball and tried to find Kane, who was only a few yards out, but his cross flashed inches past the onrushing attacker and United held out to earn a vital and hugely deserved points.
Tottenham: Lloris (c), Trippier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies, Winks (Llorente 80), Sissoko (Lamela 42), Eriksen, Alli, Son, Kane.
Subs not used: Gazzaniga, Rose, Sanchez, Foyth, Skipp.
United: De Gea, Young (c), Lindelof, Jones, Shaw, Matic, Herrera, Pogba (McTominay 90), Lingard (Dalot 83), Rashford, Martial (Lukaku 73).
Subs not used: Romero, Andreas, Fred, Mata.
Booked: Herrera, Pogba
Scorer: Rashford (44)
Referee: Mike Dean